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Tufts Grad, Viacom Heir, Gets Promotion

Tufts Grad, Viacom Heir, Gets PromotionShari Redstone, daughter of media mogul Sumner Redstone, will become vice chairman of Viacom, taking a highly visible role overseeing the company's evolution.

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [06.22.05] Tufts graduate Shari Redstone (A'75)– daughter of Viacom chairman Sumner Redstone – will become vice chairman of Viacom Inc. after the conglomerate splits its Viacom and CBS properties, a move announced on June 14. Redstone currently runs National Amusements, a Dedham, Mass.-based movie theatre chain owned by the Redstone family.

"My father and I are in perfect agreement as to what's in the best interest of Viacom," Redstone told Daily Variety.

The influence of Shari Redstone – who also sits on the Viacom board of directors – on the media powerhouse over the years has been noted.

"She's been a quiet and effective power behind the throne. And the throne hasn't moved," one entertainment analyst told Variety.

Redstone is known as a tough, effective manager who is a good listener, Variety reported. Entertainment analyst Dennis McAlpine told the publication about an incident at a White Plains, N.Y., theatre in the National Amusements chain – which runs 1,390 movie screens acrossthe U.S., U.K. and Latin America.

"There were 20 people in line and four concession people were standing around talking. I wrote to Shari. About two weeks later, I got a phone call at 8:30 Sunday night. Shari Redstone wanted to talk about the letter," entertainment analyst Dennis McAlpine told Variety. "She said, 'That's my favorite theater. Tell me what happened.'"

Redstone came to National Amusements in 1993 after 15 years spent practicing law in Boston, and took charge of the chain in 2000. She holds two law degrees from Boston University and is a former member of the Board of Trustees at Tufts.

Viacom and CBS merged five years ago, creating the third-largest media company in the country. Viacom owns cable networks such as MTV, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central and BET.

The split comes from a desire to separate the slow-growing broadcast business and the fast-growing cable and movie properties, Variety reported.

In preparation for eventually assuming her father's title, as is widely expected, Redstone has been attending investors' conferences and management meetings. She is expected to be a steady leader who won't micromanage.

"I don't think Shari will be a tinkerer like Sumner. He likes to play with his toys. Shari will be more advice and counsel type of thing," McAlpine told Variety.

"If they want to decide who's going to make a music video or a new show, she's not going to be involved. If they are making a major hire or a major corporate split, a refinancing or share repurchase, or a brand new business, she's going to have a hand in it," media analyst Hal Vogel told Variety.







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